Friday, November 3, 2017

The Accidental Tradition Continues

We were a little late on the Marvel movie scene.  The Bru Crew did not express interest in the Marvel movies until the first Avengers movie came out.  Bru Crew Dad and I did not go see any of the Iron Man movies or Hulk.  We did watch the first Captain America movie, and the first Thor movie, but only on DVD.  We saw Avengers in theaters as part of my Mother's Day gift in May 2012.  I was a little surprised that was the plan, but I went with it, and we enjoyed the movie.

Somewhere in the process of watching Marvel movies, and then Star Wars movies, in theaters, my kids wanted to watch them as soon as possible, which meant the Friday they were released.  Some Fridays, that worked; many of those Fridays were already booked.  The May Marvel releases were always the night of our co-op concert, and the December Star Wars releases were always the weekend we celebrate Christmas with my family at my sister's house. We discovered that they were not advertised as such, but often released the Thursday night before.  It quickly became our tradition to see the movies on the Thursday of their release, which is the first day they are available in theaters.  We surprised the kids with IMAX tickets to see Rogue One in December of last year.

Standing at the bus stop with Ms. Quality Time and Tenderheart yesterday, Ms. QT reminded me that Thor: Ragnarok opens this weekend, and wanted to know if we were going last night.  I looked into it, and considered it.  Then, Little Man's soccer practice was canceled, Ms. Quality Time's Scholar's Bowl match was a single instead of a double, and I thought we could make it work.  Unfortunately, there was an event planned for the marching band after practice, that was mentioned a month ago, but not again, and Tenderheart had to miss it to go with us.  I felt a little badly about that because she would have enjoyed it, but all the memos said 4-6, and nothing else.  We went to the 7:00 showing at our local theater.  I made a few of my hard working soccer friends mad jealous because we have a tournament this weekend that they are hard at work on, but family comes before soccer.  My children do not get everything they want.  I do not have the desire or money to buy all the latest and greatest gadgets and clothing trends (not to say that it is wrong to do that for your children if you can and want to).  We strive to breed contentment into our children.  They ask for very few things.  Christmas lists are hard because they get what they need, and do not want much.  This, however, is important to my children.  Most of our traditions are intentional: ice cream for dinner one night when a parent is out of town for a week, pancakes for lunch on Sunday after church, reading the Christmas story from the Bible before we open gifts, praying before we eat or travel, praying when we see a wreck or an ambulance, just to name a few, but this one was not intentional.  However, in a world where my kids want to go do something as a family, I am glad to be able to say yes.  And so, our accidental tradition continued, and we went and watched Thor: Ragnarok last night as a family.  I won't give any spoilers, but we enjoyed it thoroughly, and I am sure that the DVD of it will be on someone's Christmas or birthday list next year.  :)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Update 2017

What is it about the cold weather that makes me contemplative?  I'm not sure, but I definitely see a pattern here.  I had high hopes of being a homeschool blogger, but the truth is, I don't post consistently enough.  Life has changed a lot in the last 5 yrs.  Ms. Quality Time no longer homeschools.  Tenderheart and Ms. Quality Time are both in high school now.  Little Man is not so little any more, and all 4 of my kids have moved into the youth group at church!  I also went back to school, finished my degree, and found a job that lets me work from home and continue to homeschool.  God moved us from our long-time church that we loved dearly to another church that we have learned to love as well.  We have joined and quit two homeschool co-ops.

We are in a transition.  I know that not everything about where we are will stay the same.  I know some will for a long time, some will for a season, and some things are probably on their way out the door.  I am picking this blog back up as a way to record our journey to simplifying and creating margin.  BruCrewDad says I am at my "midlife crisis" where I didn't grow up to be the marine biologist I always hoped I would be, so now what?  I am teaching higher levels of high school math online and loving it!  I also teach high school chemistry, which I enjoy, but not as much as the math.  I am still struggling to learn how to be a home maker.  I am trying to purge our clutter, develop good routines, and keep my sanity as I run here, there, and yon with 4 kids in 9 different activities.  We attempted to simplify by dropping co-ops this year, which helped, but not enough.

So, I sit at my computer, coffee in hand, think...and write.  I wish I knew where we were going.  Will Tenderheart be in marching band next year?  Will Little Man continue homeschool band?  Will we go back to co-op?  If so, which one?  Will some of my kids go to the online school I teach through rather than continue to homeschool?  What will soccer look like next year?  Will we find someone to teach Smiley Western horseback riding, or will she continue English?  Will emotional struggles continue at my house?  I don't know many answers.  I don't even know all the questions.  What I have learned as I have walked with God is that He knows it all, and sometimes knowing too much would make me crawl in a hole and never come out.  I would never have chosen some of the things for myself that He has allowed in my life, but he is growing me through them.  He gives me mercy for the day I am in, and has been gracious enough to give me friends who pray for me, with me, and over me, and also encourage me to remain faithful and true to Him who loves me so dearly.  Psalm 119:105 says that God's word is a lamp to our feet and light to our path.  I have used a light on my path when I am camping and it is dark.  It doesn't let me see very far in front of me.  I am striving to keep my eyes on God, stay in His word, and trust Him with what is outside of the light on my path.

One of my favorite Bible stories is in Matthew 14 when Jesus comes to the disciples in the middle of a stormy night walking on the water.  They completely freak out, thinking it is a ghost, and then Peter, who tends to think and act before he speaks (a lot like me), says, "Lord, it it's You, command me to come out to You on the water."  (Side note-I love how he doesn't tell Jesus to ask him to come.  Probably because he was scared and might have said no, but if Jesus commands it, you have to do it.)  Jesus commanded him to come, so he did.  Peter walked on the water as long as he was looking at Jesus.  The very second he took his eyes off of Jesus to look at the waves, he started sinking.  Nothing about the storm or sea changed, nothing about where Jesus was or where Peter was changed.  The only thing that changed was that Peter stopped looking at the Lord and started looking at his circumstances.  That change in focus was the difference between walking on water and sinking.  I am striving to be like Peter when he was walking on the water, and not Peter when he was looking at the waves.  Some of the things I am navigating are a little scary and my boat feels really small, but I know the Lord of the sea, and I'm trying to keep my eyes on Him.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas is coming!

Over the holidays, I plan to update my blog on all we have been doing with school.  My camera lenses died, and blog posts are no fun without pictures!  As a birthday/Christmas (and maybe Valentine's Day/Mother's Day/Anniversary gift), I got a new lens.  Yea!!!!  Pix of projects are coming soon!  Here's a quick note about what we are going to be doing this holiday season.  First, we are taking a break in the MFW-ECC curriculum to look at Christmas Around the World.  We are also doing the Truth in the Tinsel book.  Secondly, as cute as my friend's elf on the shelf pictures are, I have enough mischief in my life without creating extra, and I know my kids well enough to know that if it's cute for the elf to do it, they would try it too!  As a giving focused alternative, I am planning to combine the Christmas Angel with Light 'em Up activities.  :)  I plan to post some of these as we go.  Since tomorrow is Dec. 1, I read the Christmas Angel book tonight, and I am making plans.  What do you do in your house to keep your kids focused on Christ at Christmas?

And, while 52 weeks of cookies was cancelled by our household running guru, I will be making cookies through the holidays, and I'll post the recipes.  :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Updates soon!

Things have been crazy busy around here!  My camera is having issues, soccer is keeping us hopping, and we are working on gifts for my sister's baby shower this weekend.  (I'm going to be an aunt!!!!)  Also, allergies are going crazy, and I got stitches this week.  :(  I had some moles removed back in April that my dermatologist was concerned about.  Three of them came back as precancer, but the lab reports showed they had gotten it all.  Well, one came back and brought a new friend, so it had to be cut out.  It hurts!  Anyway, I will update soon with pix from our "trip" to Mexico, and our Exploration Day 15 and the sweet gifts we made for my niece.  On a quick side note, the Bru Crew has really taken this "trip" thing very seriously!  They keep pretending to be in Mexico.  Smiley calls it Me-hee-co, just like a Mexican would.  Little Man keeps pretending to be from other random countries, and the girls keep asking him what brought him to Mexico if he's from St. Kitts & Nevis, or wherever he's pretending to be from at the time.  It is hilarious to overhear their random conversations as I am working on my niece's gift, or cleaning, or cooking, or whatever.  They also play this really fun app that is like the Geography Game from MFW called Stack the Countries.  (The app has a mini game called "Map It" that is just like it.)  They are learning the names of SO many countries all over the world.  They are so sad that we're "skipping so many" in their words.  I reminded them that if we spent 2 weeks on every country, we'd be studying ECC for 5 yrs!  They suggested we just spend a week on each, and be done in 2.5 yrs.  I love their thirst for knowledge!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Outrageous Chocolate Cookies and Potato Soup

Smiley: my ever-present
kitchen helper
It's week 2 of my 52 Weeks of cookies!  This past Friday, I made Outrageous Chocolate Cookies to share with our friends at co-op.  I followed a pin to this blog post, which had a recipe link to here, for these deliciously rich cookies.  They were good, and gone fast!  I made them and hurried out the door, so I didn't get a picture of the finished product.  I didn't have chocolate chunks, so I used 2 cups of chocolate chips instead, and I used 1 1/3 cups of chocolate chips for the semi-sweet chocolate.  I buy them in bulk from Sam's Club.  Also, it turned out, that I was out of brown sugar, so I used 3/4 cup of regular sugar and a tablespoon of molasses.  Smiley helped me make them.  She scooped the dough, which was more like brownie batter onto the pans to put in the oven. 

Smiley was tickled at the shapes of her cookies.
It took a lot of self control for her not to lick her
fingers until she was finished!
Last night, soccer was cancelled due to a torrential rain, so, I stayed home and made potato soup.  It was the perfect weather for it!  Sadly, it is a crock pot recipe, but my crock pot died, and has not been replaced yet.  Thankfully, she gave suggestions for cooking it without one.  I made adaptations, of course, because I always do.  The last time I asked Bru Crew Dad to get potatoes at the store, he bought a 5 lb. bag of yellow potatoes.  (Isn't he a gem to go shopping for me?  I just have to remember to be more specific!)  Since the meal I needed them for required baking potatoes, I wondered what to do with these.  Soup was the perfect thing!  I peeled most of the 5 lb. of potatoes.  We have discovered that we like the skin in our potato stuff, so I left a couple with skin that I just scrubbed well.  I also used 3 qt. of stock, 2 cans of cream of chicken and a can of cream of mushroom.  I was out of onions, so I used a Tbs. of dehydrated onion, and a tsp. of onion powder.  I doubled the pepper and garlic powder.  I cooked my diced potatoes for about 30 minutes, added my cans of soup in, then divided it in half.  We had half for dinner and froze half for another night.  I returned it to the stove to warm the cream soups through and melt the cream cheese.  (Shh!  Don't tell Little Man that I put cream cheese in it!)  Each of the kids ate thirds!  Yum!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Edible USA

Ms. Quality Time thought she didn't need
the extra sugar from the frosting, and used
extra M&M's for the Gulf of Mexico, since her
Mississippi River extended into it.
How many sentences and blog posts start with "I saw this idea on Pinterest..."?  How did we ever think of anything before Pinterest?  Anyway, following the trend, I saw this idea on Pinterest this weekend, and knew I had to use it!  (Scroll toward the bottom, past the Valentine's Day stuff to find it.)  In ECC we are leaving the US today and heading to Mexico.  So, this morning, we put landforms on the USA, talking about things one might fly over and see out the window as they left our country.  I cut out a US map, traced it will edible markers onto an extra large tortilla, and let the kids make the Rocky and Appalaichan Mountains with chocolate chips, the Great Plains with green tinted coconut, the Mississippi River with a blue sour punch straw and the Great Lakes with blue M&M's.  She used Twizzler Pull 'N' Peel (or something similar) for the Mississippi, but I wanted it blue.  I see now the wisdom in using the Twizzlers or other licorice rope, since it is more flexible, and the Mississippi is not nearly as straight as we made it. There was frosting to "glue" it on with.  Some of the kids chose to use it, some did not.  It was a fun (and yummy) activity.  :)

Tenderheart's USA
Little Man didn't want to use frosting b/c he
was afraid he wouldn't be able to find and
remove the coconut.
Smiley's USA

Saturday, September 15, 2012

MFW-ECC Week 4

Well, we have wrapped up our study of the United States of America this week. Smiley showed much improvement in her state recognition by the end of the two weeks. Whether she was being difficult, was tired, or just having at off day, I don't know, but early in Week 3, I had each kid label the states they recognized on a blank line map of the US. I was going to label hers for her, but she only recognized Alaska. Thursday of this week, we repeated the activity. The older three kids were a little frustrated about it. They know all the states and where they are in the US, so it felt a little like busy work, but I had them label them with postal abbreviations, which it turns out need more work at our house. Smiley was delighted, however! She was able to easily identify five states: ours and the ones surrounding it. With a little more gentle pressure from me, she got up to fourteen states that she was able to correctly identify and put on the map! This week was crazy busy, which made me grateful for how much less busy work there is in MFW! We mostly skipped the first grade stuff this week. Smiley usually works on it while the other kids are working on their reading, but I knew we were pressed for time this week. We doubled up on school Monday, because Tuesday we had science class at a nearby science museum. The museum is about an hour away, but there is a Sam's Club not too far from it, so I use the opportunity to get groceries. We were able to count the day as a school day because of the science class, but I knew we would not get much curriculum done. I brought math in the car for Smiley, since she doesn't double up as well as the other kids, but she gets carsick easily too, so it didn't get finished. Also, rather than cooking, we went to a local place for burgers. Mine never seem to turn out the way I want them to on the grill, plus after our Friday morning school, then co-op with our friends, I don't feel like cooking! Co-op and cooking days seem to go together this fall, so we may be eating out for the food instead, which might be better. I can follow recipes, but how do I know if some new food tastes right or not. If it is bad, is it because I made a mistake, or do we just not like that kind of food? We'll see how that goes. We did cook though! We made cookies to take to co-op. I'll blog about that soon, probably on Tasty Tuesday. :)